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Overview

This friendly and demure little island is populated by only a few hundred inhabitants – mostly Thais and Burmese – with a smattering of expats and a few dozen chao leh (sea gypsies) thrown into the mix. While spotlighted by two main bays and their beaches, Ko Phayam also has a couple of sizable, forested hills and plenty of scenic agricultural land to boot. Locals support themselves mostly on prawn fishing and cashew-nut farming. Interesting fauna in the area include wild pigs, hornbills, monkeys and snakes. The island is part of the Laem Son National Park, which covers 122 square miles in Ranong and Phang-Nga provinces. The area ...

This friendly and demure little island is populated by only a few hundred inhabitants – mostly Thais and Burmese – with a smattering of expats and a few dozen chao leh (sea gypsies) thrown into the mix. While spotlighted by two main bays and their beaches, Ko Phayam also has a couple of sizable, forested hills and plenty of scenic agricultural land to boot. Locals support themselves mostly on prawn fishing and cashew-nut farming. Interesting fauna in the area include wild pigs, hornbills, monkeys and snakes. The island is part of the Laem Son National Park, which covers 122 square miles in Ranong and Phang-Nga provinces. The area includes about 62 miles of Andaman Sea coastline – the longest protected shore in the country – as well as more than 20 islands. There's one sizable "village" on the island, where lie the main pier, a couple of simple eateries, some small grocery stalls and one surprisingly modern bar called Oscar's, which you can’t really miss. From the pier area, motorcycle taxis scoot you to the 15 or so bungalow operations around the island, almost all of which are pretty basic and located on the two bays – Ao Yai and Ao Khao Fai. Ao Yai is best for swimming, and has a two-mile-long sandy beach. It gets more waves than Ao Khao Fai. Ao Khao Fai is shallower and not as good for swimming, but the beach is more sheltered, if you’re just looking to sunbathe. It’s also more affected by the tides than Ao Yai.

Joe Cummings
About the Expert

Joe Cummings has contributed to more than 35 guidebooks, maps, atlases, phrasebooks and photographic works, including his bestselling Lonely Planet Thailand and Buddhist Stupas of Asia: The Shape of Perfection.

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Joe Cummings for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to May